Liberations is instantaneous.
Liberation is in the moment when one sets down a burden and before picking up another.
Liberation is when the search stops.
Liberation is when the search, and what is sought are experienced as having no independent inherent essence.
Liberation is when the mind rests in the understanding and experience of the emptiness of all things that arise as a result of a cause.
Liberation is the freedom of spontaneous, unconditional forbearance toward all beings and oneself.
Liberation is the dropping of the concept that one is not liberated.
It has always been challenging for me to reconcile the luxury and ease of having the time and opportunity to be able to contemplate these things, and the awareness of other people, whose birth into genetic streams of generational trauma and whose lives and thoughts are consumed with just surviving, and not conducive to contemplation without a heroic amount of effort. In my life the experience of liberation is the freedom from habits of mind and conditioning that lead me to attachment or aversion. It is freedom from the mental gymnastics of doubt and judgment of self and others. What is liberation for the starving masses in war, flooded, and drought stricken lands? What is liberation for the deeply impoverished rural populations of the Western societies, who have been led into the addictions of alcohol, pain relievers, 24 hour hate media, and spiritual charlatans promising liberation? What is liberation for the urban destitute who don’t even have the respite of nature and its solace, but are born into canyons of empty, concrete and glass promises and unscalable and soul crushing mountains of the Wealthy’s law and order?
As I hold these disparate worlds in the crucible of contemplation, I notice that, by opening my experience to the images and thoughts that arise from seeing the lives of the folks who do not live in the luxury of having time and opportunities to contemplate, the incessant habit stream of conditioned thinking dissolves. I am no longer a cloud of lofty aspirations mulling the nature of reality. I experience being grounded in humanness and thisness. The non conceptual qualities of loving kindness, compassion, gratitude/joy and equanimity are unveiled as manifestations of true nature, not merely concepts. Fears of losing my place in the hierarchy of materialism and intellectualism drop away and I am left with the prayer that I will have the capacities and be presented with opportunities to bring ease to those who are suffering however, whenever and wherever that suffering occurs.
That is all that is left.
I experience liberation.
In the teachings of the boddhisatva path to liberation, the buddhas and enlightened ones appear endlessly, without hesitation, wherever there is suffering. They rarely show up as pulpit bangers or cushion sitters or miracle workers, but dressed in the garb, the desires, the attachments, the lostness of those who are suffering, regardless of social class, spiritual lineage, or past deeds. They are relentlessly residing within the caves of the suffering, living as companions to those who are suffering, no matter how it manifests. In some of the teachings it is pointed out that those of us who live lives of material ease ultimately suffer immensely when we realize our ignorance of how we may have perpetuated suffering in the world because of our ignorance and desires to hold onto our luxury. While the sages immerse themselves into these caves of ignorance, greed and hatred they are shining lights on on the path to liberation that originates from each individual’s, unique, inherent manifestation of goodness. Like Jesus and all the wisdom teachers, these buddhas descend into hell, not to battle with the lost souls but to invite them without conditions into the heaven of their own true nature.
When I am able in a moment of presence to willingly and without expectation to offer all that I am, and am not, to bring about an end to suffering, I experience liberation. I practice and study the dharma, however it shows up, to be always ready to step into the cave and don the garb wherever and whenever the call comes. I often cannot hear or am ignorant of the call because it is drowned out by the cacophony of my own mind stream of conditioned greed and aversion. But there are moments, more and more with practice, that this willingness to show up, presents opportunities to apply the lessons of buddha, dharma and sangha, in the world. It is not like when, in my younger years, I would barrel into the barrios with my arrogance and righteousness to save those “lesser” folks from their lives. Riding in on my white horse into save the lives that I assumed were insufficient without what I had. The experience is merely waiting for the invitation to walk a path with another without any objective but to relive suffering, whatever that means to them.
With the practice, the path, that I have the skills and experience and humility to travel, steps into me, meets me, and shows me where and how I can do this work without causing more suffering. When I slow down enough and listen without ambition or agendas, what is needed offers itself as a gift for deeper practice and understanding of the path. Liberation is the result of the acts of selfless/egoless serving and dedication to the end of suffering for all beings throughout all times and in all directions. Liberation is the result of finally being willing to be unconditionally, essentially human.
These words are dedicated to all wisdom elders and wisdom teachings and to bringing about the end of suffering for all beings throughout all times and in all directions.
May it be so.
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